Planned Parenthood affiliates and other abortion facilities filed a lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) and other Texas officials demanding relief from an executive order barring non-essential surgical procedures during the coronavirus pandemic. Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-Texas) interpreted Abbott’s executive order as preventing all abortions in the state since they are elective, but Planned Parenthood claims Paxton and Abbott violated its rights to due process and equal protection of the laws by preventing the facilities from killing babies during this emergency.
“The Texas Attorney General’s enforcement threats are a blatant effort to exploit a public health crisis to advance an extreme, anti-abortion agenda, without any benefit to the state in terms of preventing or resolving shortages of PPE [personal protective equipment] or hospital capacity,” the lawsuit claims. “As a result of these threats, this week Plaintiffs have already been forced to turn away patients in need of time-sensitive care.”
Yet pro-life leaders have urged Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to direct abortion facilities to pause their baby-killing in an effort to preserve vital medical supplies for strapped hospitals and health care centers.
“At a time when hospitals are overloaded, the abortion industry is putting women at risk of incomplete abortion, hemorrhage, and infection,” the letter reads. “By ceasing both surgical and chemical abortions now, Planned Parenthood will free up much needed medical equipment and decrease the demand placed on ER’s due to complications from both medical and surgical abortion.”
Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit claims that Paxton “singled out” abortion facilities, but the attorney general’s directive was extremely broad. Abbott ordered “all licensed health care professionals” to “postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician.”
“This prohibition applies throughout the State and to all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary, including routine dermatological, ophthalmological, and dental procedures, as well as most scheduled healthcare procedures that are not immediately medically necessary such as orthopedic surgeries or any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother,” Paxton’s press release reads (emphasis added).
Abortionists who continue to use vital health care resources to kill babies and perform procedures that could bring complications landing women in the hospital would face fines up to $1,000 or 180 days in jail.
States across the country have directed health care providers to cancel elective surgeries to conserve medical supplies. Mississippi and Ohio have also directed abortion facilities to cease using these vital resources during this pandemic. Virginia and New Jersey, however, have directed hospitals to cancel elective procedures but insisted that abortion should be considered essential.
The Planned Parenthood lawsuit claims that Texas is depriving patients of “their constitutional right to essential healthcare and self-determination,” but it also alleges that “forcing them to continue their pregnancies will in fact impose far greater strains on an already-taxed healthcare system, as prenatal care and delivery involve much greater exhaustion of hospital health care services and PPE than abortions.”
Planned Parenthood also argues that “legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States” and is “substantially safer than continuing a pregnancy through to childbirth.” These claims ignore the existence of the baby, who is deliberately targeted for death in such a “procedure.”
Planned Parenthood acknowledges that abortion requires the use of PPE, which is vital for hospitals in this pandemic. Yet the lawsuit claims that abortion facilities have “reduced the use of PPE as much as possible.”
At the same time, Planned Parenthood is asking for donations of PPE to keep killing babies.
— Carole Novielli (@CaroleNovielli) March 26, 2020
The lawsuit asks for an injunction to stop the executive order, claiming the order will “harm patients’ physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing and the wellbeing of their families. Patients’ abortions will be delayed, and in some cases, denied altogether.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, condemned the lawsuit as a plea for special treatment.
“Running to the courts to plead for privileged treatment is the modus operandi of the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood. Suing to carry out abortions during a time of national emergency, when so many Americans are making heroic sacrifices, is the latest example of their extreme disregard for women’s health and safety and for the common good,” Dannenfelser declared.
“Abortion is not health care. It is the violent destruction of innocent human life, and is certainly not ‘essential.’ Legitimate health care providers desperately need the medical resources Planned Parenthood and others would divert to their abortion business. We urge abortion centers to put their profit interest aside for a change, obey lawful directives like those issued by Texas and Ohio stopping risky and unnecessary procedures, and do their part to stop the spread of coronavirus,” she concluded.
Abortion is arguably the definition of “elective” surgery — even by Planned Parenthood’s admission in this lawsuit. The abortion group claims that killing an unborn baby is essential to “self-determination,” even though pregnancy in the first place usually results from individual decisions.
Contrary to Planned Parenthood’s claims in the lawsuit, Paxton did not single out abortion facilities — he also applied the order to dermatological, ophthalmological, dental, and orthopedic procedures. The due process and equal protection claims should not allow abortion facilities to wiggle their way out of this order. Can’t Planned Parenthood take a break from killing babies in order to help fight the coronavirus?
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.